Look before you click

If you’re like most people, you aim to control what others know and say about you. So you’re careful about what you reveal, and to whom you reveal it.

With social media we’re getting used the fact that whatever we post or share becomes part of the big public conversation. But how many times do you carefully review an email, that old technology, before clicking Send? Do you read and re-read what you’ve written? Do you double check who the recipients are? And do you open the attachment to ensure it’s what you intend to send?

An employee at Chevron didn’t check. This past Friday, he inadvertently sent an email to news media wire services that included documents revealing internal information about his company’s energy trading operations.


He tried unsuccessfully to recall the message. Minutes later he sent a request to various news services, asking them to delete the information he had accidentally sent.

The media response was swift and sharp. The Wall Street Journal said, “Chevron’s Email ‘Oops” Reveals Energy Giant’s Sway Over Markets."

The San Francisco Chronicle, through their Bloomberg News affiliation, chimed in with, “Chevron E-Mails Show $363.8 Million Trading Profit This Year.”

And this tweet circulated through StockTwits: “RT @BloombergNow Chevron E-Mails Show $363.8M in Trading Profit."

The articles exposed the usually unobtainable content in the errant documents, with just passing mention that they landed this content through a mistaken distribution.

Like it or not the media did their job, which in this case was to report news from a publicly held company.

The lesson one can learn from this incident, no matter how small or large your company, is simple: check, then check again before you click Send, Post, or Share. Because after the click your words and ideas are public, and up for grabs.

And when it comes to working with the media: assume that anything you say or send them will be considered fair game for publishing.

Have you ever clicked then wished you could take it back? Share your experience in the Comment box.

Roberta Guise works with experts, small business owners and professionals who want to be extraordinarily visible and sharpen their marketing edge. She also enables successful women to become thought leaders in their field of expertise. A small business marketing consultant and speaker, she is the founder of San Francisco-based Guise Marketing & PR. If you'd like to know how to apply these concepts to your situation, call for a free 1/2 hour consultation. 415-979-0611. www.guisemarketing.com